Former New Jersey Gov. Dick Codey wants the state to shut down a Newark boarding house for the mentally ill and physically disabled following a brutal attack on a resident smoking a cigarette in the backyard.
"I was disgusted, I wanted to throw up," Codey said of the Monday night attack that has left the 64-year-old female resident of the Hills Boarding Home hospitalized in critical condition.
The woman was found unconscious from an apparent head injury and naked from the waist down, police have said.
Codey, now a state senator, first tried to get the boarding house on Hawthorne Avenue shut down in February. He took NBC New York inside to see filthy conditions in the kitchen, hallways and bedrooms.
State inspectors ordered the owner to make improvements, and a certificate now hangs on the wall saying it is "conditionally satisfactory."
The house’s owner, Charles Hill, accused Codey of political grandstanding. Hill said he gets $7,000 a year per resident from the federal government to take care of his boarders, while state hospitals cost more than $177,000 per person.
Codey disputed Hill’s figures but said there is no cost for safety.
"We go from a nice facility to something like this where a woman may have lost her life," he said. "I'll fight for it every day."
A spokeswoman for the State Department of Human Services, Lisa Ryan, said late Wednesday afternoon in an email that inspectors returned to the house after Codey's complaints but found no new violations and no reason to shut the home down.
Meanwhile, the Essex County Prosecutor's office released a statement saying it was joining Newark Police in investigating the brutal attack on the resident.
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